Yesterday's Second Avenue Subway groundbreaking was notable for a few things: First of all, as we all know by now, it's was the fourth groundbreaking - three occurred in the 1970s, so yesterday's event was an introduction to the pomp and pageantry of subway groundbreakings for many of us. Second, it was pouring. When it rains at weddings, some people say that's lucky (though we suspect it's just to make the couple feel better). We say it's lucky that parts of the subway were already built, so the dignitaries and MTA official gathered could stay relatively dry.
And third, Mayor Bloomberg wasn't there, as he was off in Ohio to discuss his campaign against illegal guns. Since the last three groundbreakings had mayors but came to naught, maybe this was also an auspicious sign of better luck. Everyone was in high spirits: MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow even invoked Passover when he said, "Why is this groundbreaking different from all the other groundbreakings?" ("This time, we have the money and the political will."). Elected officials smiled for cameras, but had to use mini-pickaxes for the ceremonial groundbreaking (might be a union thing).
Who knows how far the Second Avenue Subway will get - we think of it as the "Haley's comet" of subway projects. This time around, there are more secured funds from state and federal sources, so that's hopeful. And the future of the Second Avenue Subway is exciting, especially when you see these renderings of what stations, such as a new one at 2nd Avenue and 96th, are supposed to look like. (Another rendering after the jump)
The NY Times reports that the MTA did $40,000 of cleanup to make the tunnel clean for the groundbreaking. There was, sadly, no mention of the child who drew the picture in the photograph at top - we imagine elementary kids are being told "The Legend of the Second Avenue Subway" when they learn about transit history in the second grade!
Our posts on the Second Avenue Subway. And the Straphangers' Gene Russianoff had this to say about the Second Avenue subway: "Unfortunately the core repair program’s progress is in doubt, given the MTA’s shaky finances. Riders will be asked to bear the costs of paying back bonds to fund expansion projects. Over the next four years, riders will pay about $642 million in debt service for both East Side Access and Second Avenue. We support the project, but that money didn’t come from heaven
Photograph at top by Mary Altaffer/AP; renderings courtesy of the MTA